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The central mission of the Ransom Center is to advance the study of the arts and humanities. To this end, the Center:
- Acquires original cultural material for the purposes of scholarship, education, and delight
- Preserves and makes accessible these creations of our cultural heritage through the highest standards of cataloging, conservation, and collection management
- Supports research through public services, symposia, publications, and fellowships
- Provides education and enrichment for scholars, students, and the public at large through exhibitions, public performances, and lectures
One of the world's finest cultural archives, the Harry Ransom Center houses 36 million literary manuscripts, one million rare books, five million photographs, and over 100,000 works of art. Highlights include the Gutenberg Bible (c.1455), the First Photograph (c.1826) and important paintings by Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. The Center is used extensively by scholars from around the world and presents numerous exhibitions and events showcasing its collections.